MMA | 1 week ago
Michael Bisping explains why he accepted Kelvin Gastelum fight on two weeks notice
He also confirmed his retirement plans

Michael Bisping may be the toughest fighter to ever step foot inside an Octagon.

One week after his devastating UFC middleweight title loss to Georges St-Pierre, Michael Bisping already had his next fight booked.

GSP beat him to the ground before choking him unconscious in UFC 217's main event, but ever the competitor, Bisping wanted to get right back into the fire. When Anderson Silva was removed from his UFC Shanghai headliner against Kelvin Gastelum after failing another drug test, 'The Count' seized the opportunity with both hands.

Although he had a 30-day suspension, the New York Commission ran some tests and gave his health the all-clear. So three weeks after being finished by arguably the greatest fighter ever, he will step in to fight a rising star who many have pegged to be a future champion.

If you've followed Bisping's career, you will know he has a distinct lack of quit in him. He is operating with reduced vision in one eye from Vitor Belfort's seismic head kick that detached his retina. This injury is correctable with surgery, but that surgery is very easily reversed by contact. So he just keeps soldiering on with one good eye.

As he explained on the MMA Hour, once another fight presented itself, he jumped at the chance to take it. In fact, he seemed to relish the short turnaround.

"The fact that I lost that fight, it bothers me. If I had that fight 10 times again, I'd win 10 times. I know I would. But, I lost and all credit to Georges. Here we are, it's like a gift from the Gods. I've got a chance to fight again. I've got a chance to exorcise my demons. I've got a chance to get back in the winning column. All good things."

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Once the original China headliner fell through, Bisping was straight onto UFC president Dana White. From there, it all came together quite quickly.

"I text Dana. I said, 'Listen, I know a guy that fought last week who has no injuries and can fight in Shanghai.' He said, 'Interesting.' I text back, 'Very'. 20 minutes later he gave me a phone call. We agreed to terms. We said we'd do it. Then I got a call from the legal department."

"They said, 'Mike, we've got to know that you're medically cleared. How do you feel?' I said,' Listen, physically, I'm fine. Mentally, I'm wounded and the only thing that's going to make that right is that I'm able to fight again. I'm emotionally and mentally scarred. Physically, I'm fine.' That was about it."

Among the UFC cards announced for the first quarter of 2018 was an event in London's 02 Arena on March 17. Bisping confirmed that he would 'definitely' want to have his retirement fight on the St Patrick's Day event. He has no opponent in mind for his swansong bout yet.

Gastelum is his primary focus at the minute.

While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Irish legends Shay Given and Clinton Morrison on the couch!


Read more about:

UFC, Michael Bisping, Kelvin Gastelum, UFC Shanghai